1 May 2015

StarKist Samoa wants minimum wage freeze

10:03 am on 1 May 2015

Starkist Samoa, the biggest private employer in American Samoa, wants to continue the current freeze on the local minimum wage.

Cannery, American Samoa

Cannery, American Samoa Photo: Supplied

Cannery workers who earn US$4.76 an hour are scheduled to get a 50 cent increase at the end of September, when a provision in federal law which has frozen wage rates since 2009 expires.

Senator Galeai Tuufuli says he supports an increase in the minimum wage, saying the costs of goods, government taxes and fees have risen, but wages remain the same.

Starkist Samoa says it supports a freeze to keep American Samoa an economically viable place to manufacture tuna products.

A spokesperson Michelle Faist says in a government report on the economic impact of wage increases that employers and workers agree that further increases would be detrimental.

She says the report finds there has been a downward trend in employment due to three previous minimum wage increases, including a 44 percent increase for cannery workers in 2007.